Campaign forms against new '˜township' proposed by Peterborough City Council

Angry residents have begun campaigning against a '˜township' being developed close to Castor and Ailsworth.

Monday, 16th January 2017, 6:00 am
The proposed new settlement - photo supplied by the Protest Rural Peterborough campaign group

Opponents to the planned 2,500 home development claim it will threaten important historical sites and wildlife and that its size is completely out of scale with the countryside.

The proposals, which are included in a draft Peterborough Local Plan, also include a new country park, employment land and a cemetery.

Investigations would also begin for university facilities to be provided in the settlement.

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Castor resident Martin Chillcott, leader of the Protect Rural Peterborough campaign group, said: “We think once you put an urban area in the middle of the countryside, the countryside is lost forever.”

Mr Chillcott said the “township” would be within 200m of the Castor Hanglands nature reserve and that cats brought by new homeowners could kill the wildlife which includes butterflies and birds.

He added that Roman, Bronze Age and Saxon settlements lie underground of where homes would be built.

Campaigners argue that the homes, which would be separated from Castor and Ailsworth by the A47, would be four times the combined size of the villages.

They also insist they are not adverse to expansion, with 75 new homes built in the villages in the last decade and plans for 50 more in the future.

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has already voiced his opposition to what Peterborough City Council has dubbed the ‘Great Kyne’ settlement, claiming it would be “completely out of keeping with the local area and will set a dangerous precedent for further development in the open countryside.”

The new campaign group says it has the support of Castor’s city councillors - council leader Cllr John Holdich and cabinet member for planning and housing Cllr Peter Hiller.

Cllr Hiller said himself and Cllr Holdich “have listened to what our residents are telling us and will be making representations on their behalf alongside their own commentary.” Cllr Holdich said he will support what the villagers want once the consultation ends in February.

The draft plan also includes 250 properties in Eye which has led to protests from the villagers.